Utah National Guard Airmen and Soldiers celebrated the 67th annual Governor’s Day after a two-year hiatus Sept. 24, 2022, at Camp Williams, Utah.
This was the first Governor’s Day for both Gov. Spencer J. Cox as the commander in chief of the Utah National Guard and Maj. Gen. Michael Turley as the adjutant general, due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The governor and the adjutant general officiated the pass in review of approximately 4,000 Airmen and Soldiers on Tarbet Field.
The pass in review is a time honored tradition and was Cox’s first opportunity to observe the state of readiness of his military troops. The ceremony commenced with a 19-volley cannon salute in honor of the governor and was followed by Cox and Turley addressing the troops.
“The Utah National Guard is an innovative and adaptive organization ready to meet the challenges of the future fight,” said Cox. “I am thankful to the Utah National Guard and the valuable role they have played in the state's emergency response team.”
Turley added, “It is important to gather periodically for esprit de corps, for our teams, for our units, and it's also important for our community; the community of the Utah National Guard.”
The ceremony also featured fly overs from the Utah Air National Guard and the Utah Army National Guard aviation assets including a KC-135 Stratotanker and an arrangement consisting of two UH-60 Black Hawks and two AH-64 Apaches in a diamond formation.
During the ceremony, more than 148 Gold Star family members were recognized. A Gold Star family consists of spouses, children, parents, siblings or others whose loved one died in service to the U. S. Armed Forces.
“Gold Star mothers and families are the resilient legacies of their servicemembers' sacrifice to our nation,” said Governor Cox.
Additionally, during their address to the troops, both Cox and Turley conveyed the importance of mental health care.
“Mental illness is real and it affects all of us. It doesn’t matter how tough you are. It doesn’t matter how trained you are,” said Cox. “We need you, your family needs you, the state needs you, this country needs you, and our world needs you and I need you to stay. It is not a weakness to ask for help. Indeed it is strength.”
Turley followed up stating, “Please come to us when you have needs, when you have concerns, when you’re stressed, there is help available. You are not weak. You are asking for help. In fact, you are strong.”
The festivities concluded with various activities including a classic car show, military equipment displays, and food trucks for the Soldiers, Airmen, and their families.